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Archive for June, 2013

Kind:  adj: sympathetic, gentle, benevolent Syn: loving, compassionate, generous

To describe God’s loving kindness was a challenge for me.   I never really sat down to think about what kindness looks like.  When my girls fight, I automatically say “Why can’t you be kind to each other?”  It seems like common sense and to a certain point it is.

I love how the Book of Ephesians describes the ultimate act of His kindness to me.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead I our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ –by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:5-9 (ESV)

 

Even when I was full of sin, He loved me.  God made a way for me to be one of His children through His Son Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

But His kindness doesn’t stop there.  Because He is my redeemer He will have compassion on me (Isaiah 54:8).  He will provide what I need and will do kind things and give blessings (Isaiah 63:7) just because He can.

My youngest daughter came home with a medal for being on the honor roll. She was so proud that she took it with her when she walked our dog.  Upon returning she was sobbing.  Somehow it came loose from the ribbon and was lost.

We retraced her steps and could not find it.  When I asked where she thought she lost the medal my daughter said the drainage ditch.  Unfortunately we had a heavy rain the day before and the ditch was full of water.

I sent her back into the house empty handed then sat on a bench and prayed, “Daddy, help me find this medal.  I know Grace is important you therefore what is important to her is important to you.  Please show me where it is.  I will not leave this golf course until I have it.”

I walked the path taken earlier, nothing.  I even went into the ditch and kicked around the high grass, still nothing.  Frustration set in, and I began wondering why God didn’t show me where the medal was. “You cared about the woman who lost the coin, and the man who lost the sheep, I know you care about this lost medal.” I decided to check the ditch again.  There on a narrow strip of grass that I had walked through five or six times and saw nothing, now presented me with the shiny medal.

I felt like the woman who found her coin.  I clutched it to my chest as the tears rolled down my cheeks.  I praised and thanked God all the way back to the house for showing His kindness to me and my daughter.

He certainly didn’t have to do that, but He did.  Why?  Because He loved me, loved my daughter and wanted to demonstrate His kindness to us.

How about you?  If you have seen His provision, or been given an unexpected blessing, or just had a good day, you have experienced His loving kindness. Praise Him and thank Him for it.

“I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted [*me] that he has granted [*me] according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.”

Isaiah 63:7 (ESV)

 

*added for emphasis 

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*Patience : to  Calmly tolerate; syn.: endurance, long suffering, forbearance

1 Corinthians 13:4 starts with, “love is patient”.  Growing up teachers taught me that the first item in a list is usually the most important.  Maybe the reason patience was listed first was because it’s the hardest virtue to exhibit. You can ask my family, patience is not a strength, but I have gotten better.

I looked up patience in a Bible Dictionary.  The entry said there are two types of patience, one for relationships and another for situations. I’m just going to deal with the relationship aspect.

While reading scripture verses, the underlining factor of God’s patience, was love and mercy.  I don’t know about you but I wonder why He puts up with me.  I make the same stupid mistakes, open mouth insert foot, doubt, become fearful and…well you get the idea.  His patience with me must wear thin sometimes.  However, the Bible states that He is the God of endurance and encouragement.

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus.”

Romans 15:5

Because He loves me He will not give up on me no matter what.  I want to be careful here.  It doesn’t mean He will not discipline me.  He will in order to grow me.

The question that came to my mind was, did He ever lose His patience?

In Exodus chapter thirty-two, He told Moses on the mountain “These people are so stubborn what am I going to with them. I know, wipe them out and start over with you.” (Christine’s paraphrase) But Moses who was considered God’s friend, seemed to talk Him out of it.

I decided to ask one of my pastors what he thought about this. I loved what he had to say.

 

“God is holy and just, and when His people rebelled as they did, God reacted to this.  He did not lose His patience but, reacted justly because of His holiness. Since He is sovereign and omniscient, He knew beforehand how the people would react to Moses’ absence – it did not take God by surprise.  He also knew how Moses would respond to God’s threat to destroy His people. Therefore, knowing this, we can see that God used this situation to cause Moses to intercede on behalf of the people and to impress both Moses and the people with the seriousness of rebelling against God. Due to Moses’ intercession, God “relented” (i.e., He did not change His mind but chose a course of action that was consistent with His divine will).”

When Moses went down from the mountain he told the people God’s reaction.  Most repented but 3,000 didn’t and were killed.  I believe He did this because they were unrepentant and He didn’t want them to bring down the whole nation. He loved His people enough to keep His promise but also loved them enough to hand out a punishment.

One of my daughters had sticky fingers as a child.  She wanted some books at the school book fair.  I said, no.  However, she sneeked into my purse, took a check and wrote it out for the amount due. She almost got away with it except, she wrote in pencil.

We were definitely angry. My husband decided to take drastic measures to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.  He drove her down to the local sheriffs department and talked to a deputy.  Fortunately, she got the message.  A few times after that the sticky fingers went to work again, thankfully nothing felony worthy. We handed out discipline and forgiveness and finally the behavior ended. Patience was rewarded.

Praise God, this is the same patience He has with us but on a grander scale.

How about you?  Do you fear God has lost patience with you?  Take heart, His loving patience for you means He will never give up on you.  Be honest with Him and repent of the sin and turn away from it.

If you are not part of God’s family, know He loves you, for He created you.  I would encourage you to read the  “An Invitation” and become one of His.

“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

Psalm 86:15 (ESV)

 

*Webster’s student Dictionary and Thesaurus

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When it comes to the love of God I have found myself overwhelmed. The other day I was struggling to decide what to do for my quiet time so I prayed about it.  The passage that came to mind, was 1 Corinthians 13, also known as the “Love Chapter”.  I’ve studied it before as it applied to my marriage or parenting, but not in relation to God’s love.  However, the parallel between this chapter and God, made perfect sense.   What better scripture to learn about His love than the Love chapter.

As a Christian I am to be a reflection of Him and if that is true, there is a need for me to see God’s character.  That brought up some serious questions right out of the gate such as if God is patient didn’t He lose His patience with Israel?  Or If love isn’t boastful, doesn’t God boast about Himself?  Of course God is God and He has the right to do both.  But then how does that relate to me?

The first three verses seem to be common sense.  When I took a deeper look I believe I  gained a fresh perspective of who He is.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love.  I am nothing.  If I give away all I have and if I deliver up my body to be burned but have not love, I gain nothing.” 

I Corinthians 13:1-3 (ESV)

 

  1. God speaks and understands all languages, for He created them.  Not only that, He listens to thousands of them all at once.  He doesn’t have to say, “You in Russia don’t talk until I hear those in England or Mexico.”  He loves me so much that He can intently listen to anyone, anywhere at anytime and all the while be listening to me as if I was the only talking to Him.
  1. He understands all mysteries and all knowledge, yet He allows us to glimpse a fraction of what He knows such as black holes, and gives us the ability to build ultrasounds to see His creation of an unborn baby.
  1. He gave up all the riches of Heaven to put on a human body and live among us as a member of a poor carpenter’s family.  Then He made the ultimate sacrifice of shedding His blood as the payment for our sins.  That is some kind of love.  Because of His love I can be free, be part of His family and live with Him forever.

I don’t know about you, but the above gives me chills.

How do you see His love? Are you awed by it?   Do you want to reflect the same kind of love?

I would encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 13 for yourself. Ask Him to show you something new about Himself and give you a new perspective of His love.

As I share what God is showing me, I would also love to hear what He is showing you about His love whether it be from your own Bible study or how He has been working in your life.

 

1 Corinthians 13, Psalm 139

 

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